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Old 07-14-2021, 01:09 AM   #1
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Enforced Pacifism

A fault with the RAW Pacifism disadvantage is that it assumes that Pacifism is a self-imposed moral behavior which must be roleplayed.

This doesn't work well for characters with coding or curses which physically or mentally prevent them from engaging in violent behavior.

This is my proposed workaround, which can be treated as a Special Limitation to most forms of Pacifism.

Enforced Pacifism (Special): Your Pacifism is eternally imposed by conditioning, programming, or some other means; physically or mentally preventing you from engaging in certain sorts of violence.

To model this option, halve the base value for a given level of Pacifism (rounding down) and assume that it allows a self-control roll of 12-. Cost can be modified using the rules for Self-Control Rolls (p. B120).

In order to overcome your Pacifism you must make a self-control roll each turn you attack or otherwise attempt to take violent or hostile action (e.g., setting a bomb or pouring poison into a foe’s drink).

If you fail your roll you cannot physically or emotionally force yourself to engage in that behavior. Instead, you must take a “Do Nothing” maneuver that turn. You may still use Active Defenses, however, as long as they are consistent with your level of Pacifism.

Failure by 4 or more or a critical failure means that you suffer Mental or Physical Stun (specified when you take this limitation) and must make an IQ or HT roll every turn to recover.

Forms of enforced Pacifism which also cause Pain or similar symptoms can be modeled by adding limitations such as Nuisance Effects or Temporary Disadvantage. In such cases, a successful self-control roll means that you can also ignore any additional problems.

Unlike the standard version of Pacifism, the GM shouldn't penalize you for bad roleplaying if you attempt to overcome your disadvantage.

Examples:

Pacifism (Enforced): Cannot Harm Innocents
-5 points*

Whenever you attempt any action which would harm someone not involved in a fight, or whenever you attempt to use lethal violence against someone who isn't attempting to do you serious harm, you must make a self-control roll. Failure means that you cannot carry through with the action and must take a "Do Nothing" maneuver that turn. Failure by 4 or more or a critical failure means that you suffer Mental or Physical Stun (choose when you take this disadvantage) instead.

Pacifism (Enforced): Cannot Kill
-7 points*

As above, but you must make a self-control roll whenever you attempt to use lethal force.

Pacifism (Enforced): Reluctant Killer
-2 points*

If you fail your self-control roll you suffer a -4 penalty to Hit and cannot Aim when using lethal force against any target which is obviously a "person" as you define the term. You only suffer a -2 penalty to hit and can aim if the target's face is obscured.

Pacifism (Enforced): Self-Defense Only
-7 points*

You must make a self-control roll in order to make preemptive attacks against potential foes. Failure means that you cannot carry through with the action and must take a "Do Nothing" maneuver that turn. Failure by 4 or more or a critical failure means that you suffer Mental or Physical Stun (choose when you take this disadvantage) instead. You may attack and defend normally once combat starts.

Pacifism (Enforced): Total Nonviolence
-15 points*

As above, but you must make a self-control roll in order to take any violent action against a sapient (i.e., IQ6+) creature, whether by direct or indirect means. You may attack non-sapient creatures normally.

Enforced Pacifism [Specific Person]
-1 point

You have an externally-imposed mental or physical block against attacking or harming a specific foe - or possibly a rarely encountered group of foes. In order to take hostile action against this person you must make a Will or HT roll (choose when you buy this Quirk) each turn. Failure means that you must take a "Do Nothing" maneuver instead. Failure by 4 or more or a critical failure means that you are mentally or physically Stunned and must make a Will or HT roll every turn to recover.

Last edited by Pursuivant; 07-14-2021 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 07-14-2021, 05:45 AM   #2
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Enforced Pacifism

If it's externally imposed by something like a curse, I wouldn't consider self-control rolls applicable and wouldn't allow them. The point of "enforced" is precisely that it's not SELF-control.

And apart from definitional issues, I think what you propose is game mechanically unbalanced. Part of the cost calculus for traits that have self-control rolls is that the GM is allowed to deny you experience if you make unnecessary or too many of them, for bad roleplaying; but violating an externally imposed restriction cannot be considered bad roleplaying, and experience penalties would not be justifiable—which removes the major incentive to roleplaying the trait.

I would just call it a curse and not try to make it work exactly like Pacifism.
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Old 07-14-2021, 05:03 PM   #3
VariousRen
 
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Default Re: Enforced Pacifism

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
And apart from definitional issues, I think what you propose is game mechanically unbalanced. Part of the cost calculus for traits that have self-control rolls is that the GM is allowed to deny you experience if you make unnecessary or too many of them, for bad roleplaying; but violating an externally imposed restriction cannot be considered bad roleplaying, and experience penalties would not be justifiable—which removes the major incentive to roleplaying the trait.
I've argued before that this line of thought on self-control rolls causes more problems than it creates. The "recovered" alcoholic who battles - and occasionally gives into - their addiction at every turn is just as valid and dramatic a character as the unapologetic drunk. In theory both characters should be making self control rolls in situations where there are high stakes, so the only difference is in moments of RP that have low stakes. The resisting character may get away with fewer small costs due their disadvantage, but it comes at the RP cost of being treated as more reliable than they actually are. This could expose them to making more roles in high stakes scenarios where they lose big. As an example, a "reformed" compulsive gambler insisting they come along to a known gambling den because they believe they've kicked the habit for good this time and end up gambling all of their valuable equipment away. A known and unrepentant gambler would know to stay away themselves, or would not be allowed to go by their friends.

With all that said, I like the idea of attaching a self control roll to pacifism to represent something other than absolute and iron clad commitment to nonviolence. I could imagine a hopeful pacifist who sees the necessity of violence in some situations, but finds themselves unable to commit to the act when they need to. This could be Reluctant Killer, but that doesn't quite work when you have situations when you can line up a sure-thing to overcome the -4. Instead they could have Total Nonviolence with a self control roll, which would also have them deciding not to cut someone's throat during a night raid, not to put a blow into a temporarily stunned or vulnerable foe, or otherwise abandon an attack that someone with Reluctant Killer could have made.

I would likely expand the duration of the effects of pacifism to cover an entire scene, or until you are forced in some way to make a new decision. If you fail a pacifism roll to try and shoot a fleeing enemy you've decided to let them go, not just hesitated for a second. If that enemy continued to attack you then you could make a new roll as you realize they aren't going to take advantage of your offer of mercy. A friendly character might be able to use leadership, intimidation, ect. to force a new roll as well, allowing some more RP interactions.
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Old 07-14-2021, 06:43 PM   #4
Not another shrubbery
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: Enforced Pacifism

Note that the rules explicitly do not treat Pacifism as a self-imposed disadvantage, leaving it off the B121 list of such traits and even mentioning that it can be bestowed by Afflictions or similar methods.
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Old 07-15-2021, 05:47 AM   #5
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: Enforced Pacifism

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
If it's externally imposed by something like a curse, I wouldn't consider self-control rolls applicable and wouldn't allow them. The point of "enforced" is precisely that it's not SELF-control.
What would your preferred game mechanic for a "less than perfectly implemented curse" be, which allows the victim to make a roll to temporarily resist their problem?

For example, how would you handle a character who has been brainwashed into pacifistic behavior but can attempt to overcome their conditioning by making a Will roll, or an AI programmed with "Asimov's Laws of Robotics" which has learned a few workarounds to sometimes defeat its programming?

Conversely, what about a naturally pacifistic character who is constantly fighting impulses which force them to behave in a more violent fashion ("Must. Not. KILL!").

I see nothing wrong in repurposing the stock Self-Control roll rules to model other disadvantages which trigger just part of the time. Just strike the word "Self" from "Self-Control" and you open up a whole bunch of possibilities. Essentially, it's the Unreliable limitation, but for disadvantages.

Last edited by Pursuivant; 07-15-2021 at 05:54 AM.
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Old 07-15-2021, 05:59 AM   #6
Pursuivant
 
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Default Re: Enforced Pacifism

Quote:
Originally Posted by VariousRen View Post
With all that said, I like the idea of attaching a self control roll to pacifism to represent something other than absolute and iron clad commitment to nonviolence. I could imagine a hopeful pacifist who sees the necessity of violence in some situations, but finds themselves unable to commit to the act when they need to. This could be Reluctant Killer, but that doesn't quite work when you have situations when you can line up a sure-thing to overcome the -4.
GURPS 3E High Tech had a mechanic for "buck fever" where a shooter couldn't or wouldn't take a shot at a target because their emotions got in the way. It was dropped in GURPS 4E, but an Enforced Pacifism version of Reluctant Killer or Cannot Kill could easily model this problem.
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Old 07-15-2021, 06:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: Enforced Pacifism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
Essentially, it's the Unreliable limitation, but for disadvantages.
Exactly: slap in a -30/50% limitation (negated by Will roll) and call it a day...

HOWEVER if there is a disadvantage that's more role-play than rules it's exactly pacifism, I personally don't see the need to define point cost in that precise way unless the player and GM really intend to play that aspect of the character and campaign. Otherwise is just a way to game the system and gain free character points in a quite unethical way.
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Old 07-15-2021, 07:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Enforced Pacifism

(Assuming enforced Pacifism works the same way as regular Pacifism when you break it) I rather wonder how fast a Berserker cursed with Pacifism (or vice versa, which is worse) would accumulate other mental problems... especially if one is curse with Pacifism: Total Non-Violence.
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Old 07-15-2021, 10:19 AM   #9
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Default Re: Enforced Pacifism

Quote:
Originally Posted by VariousRen View Post
I've argued before that this line of thought on self-control rolls causes more problems than it creates. The "recovered" alcoholic who battles - and occasionally gives into - their addiction at every turn is just as valid and dramatic a character as the unapologetic drunk. In theory both characters should be making self control rolls in situations where there are high stakes, so the only difference is in moments of RP that have low stakes.
Which is why I've been trying to come up with a scheme to put up a separation between disadvantages from personality. Making self-control bound mental disadvantages represent actual lack of control, not roleplaying checkboxes.
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Old 07-15-2021, 10:29 AM   #10
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Default Re: Enforced Pacifism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Not another shrubbery View Post
Note that the rules explicitly do not treat Pacifism as a self-imposed disadvantage, leaving it off the B121 list of such traits and even mentioning that it can be bestowed by Afflictions or similar methods.
Sure, however if one looks at Nuisance Effect: Backlash conditions that normally are not can become resistible.

Personally, I like this Idea of a resistible pacifism.
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